The Greenwood High School boys’ golf team competed in the 5A state golf tournament earlier this week at Big Creek Country Club in Mountain Home and finished third overall. The Bulldogs completed regulation play in a second place tie with Searcy, but the Lions beat them out in a one-hole playoff. El Dorado won first place, displacing Jonesboro, which had won numerous consecutive state titles over the past decade.
El Dorado won the tournament with a low score of 329, with Searcy and Greenwood right behind, tied at 331. Hot Springs Lakeside (339) was fourth and Jonesboro (350) was fifth. El Dorado also won the 5A girls state title a week earlier, just ahead of second place Greenwood.
Individually, Greenwood senior Brady Fein finished third in the tournament with an 18-hole total of 77, while teammate Ethan Clark, also a senior, finished tied for 5th place with an 81. Both players earned All-state honors.
GHS boys’ golf coach Tyler Woods talked about his team’s performance under some difficult conditions, and looked ahead to the future of the program. “I was really proud of our guys at state,” he said. “The course was playing very hard. There were some fast greens and [it was] 6,700 yards long. It felt like the wind was in your face just about every hole.
“For Brady [Fein] to score in the 70's [was] really good. He qualified for the overall state tournament next Thursday at Pleasant Valley in Little Rock, where the best players in the state compete against each other,” said Woods.
“Ethan Clark finished his round of 81 with a couple of back-to-back birdies on [holes] 15 and 16, which was really good. Hayden Weaver started out with an eagle on the second hole and finished at 83, which was a fantastic score. Our other senior, Avery Cole, scored a 90 [for] our 4th best score,” the coach added.
“We scored a 331 and went to a playoff for 2nd place against Searcy. We ended up losing it on the first hole when one of our guys got into tree trouble on his drive. [But] I'm very proud of these seniors and how hard they have worked. From the start of their junior year until now, they have come such a long way.
“Each player has improved 5 to 10 [strokes], and some 15 strokes in just two years,” said Woods. “They are great kids who love the game and love being around each other. They will cherish the memories they made together on the golf team for the rest of their lives.
“For next year, our only returning varsity player will be Chris Daggs, who is probably our most improved player this year. He joined Ethan Clark on the golf course at Vache the past two summers, and there was hardly a day that I didn't see them out there playing. Chris really has grown to love the game. He is going to have to shoot around 80 or better next year.
“We have three other juniors that will need to step up and get a lot better in the offseason. Jake Baxley, Jake Spoon, and Deacon Drennan will be seniors, and they all have the ability to hit in the mid-80s, but they just need experience to get more consistent in their rounds,” observed their coach.
“We also have two freshmen, Landry Gamble and Railn Jordan, who have put in a lot of work this season. Both of them have great swings. I look for them to work hard in the offseason as well and challenge some of the upperclassmen.
“Our boys have a chance to compete to get back to state [next year], but there is a lot of work to do. Whether we get back there or not will depend on how much time and effort they put in,” concluded Woods.